By Ashley Dunkak
COMERICA PARK (CBS DETROIT) – Detroit Tigers closer Joe Nathan left Wednesday night’s game with an obscene gesture toward fans – a flick of his hand under his chin that is understood to mean “f— you.” Thursday morning Nathan stood in front of his locker, contrite, and repeatedly apologized for the action.
While not excusing his response, Nathan said persistent boos from the fans caused him to snap.
“Right from the first pitch, right away, right out of the chute, I think I threw ball one and it started,” Nathan said. “Hearing it the whole inning just got the better of me, and my frustrations came out, and obviously it happened.
“It was bad on both parts, frustration came out on both sides, and I apologize to the fans, I apologize to my kids, and I will be better,” Nathan added.
Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez had talked Wednesday night about the unrealistic expectations of fans, who seem to want the team to win the division by 10 or 20 games and who get testy otherwise. Nathan said the expectations are fair but added it would be nice to have support, a sentiment Martinez had also expressed.
“Especially when you’re on the road and you have a tough road stretch, it’s good to come home and have some cheers as opposed to the other side when we’re on the road,” Nathan said. “Do we want that? Absolutely. Does it mean they can’t boo us? No. It’s their right to do whatever they want and how they feel, and if they’re frustrated then do that, but I let my frustrations get the better of me last night, and that’s what I’m here apologizing for.”